Tracker Pixel for Entry

​The shame of fearing fear itself

by Charlie Barber | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Last Word | April 12th, 2017

“The American people [must] tear out by the roots the hatred that [has] eaten into their attitudes toward their fellow men, lest ‘we…awaken in the not far distant future to the terrible fact we too have become conquered by the spirit of hatred, cruelty, and racial intolerance which made Hitler what he was.’”

- Senator William Langer (R-ND), March 29,1946

“…this in no degree reduces the number and awfulness of Nazi evils; it reduces the number and awfulness of Nazi evil doers…With the civil service and the military safely ‘faithful,’ it took so few at the administrative level and so few more, a million at most, of a population of seventy million, to carry out the whole program of Nazi persecutions…”

– Milton Mayer, They Thought They Were Free, The Germans, 1933-45

“In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible.”

– George Orwell

“It is a false calculation, that the people of this country can ever be ultimately deceived.”

– Alexander Hamilton

“I desire above all things, to see the equality of political rights, exclusive of hereditary distinction, firmly established by a positive demonstration of its being consistent with the order and happiness of society.” - -Alexander Hamilton

As Senate Republicans begin, like Senator John McCain (R-AZ), to publiclyrebuke the Presidential monster their Party has enabled to capture the Executive Branch, they might wish to consult one of the many copies of George Orwell’s, 1984, which seem to be jumping off the shelves these days.

One of the passages in this chilling summary of Orwell’s observations of 20th Century horrors concerns the “Two Minute Hate,” organized by the minions of “Big Brother,” a masterpiece of appeal to the worst in us, taken from the record of Lenin’s and Stalin’s Communist manipulations and the manipulations of Nazism’s Hitler and Goebbels.

Nowadays, the cyber world of 21st Century Twitter allows Orwell’s Two Minute Hate to be passed on in far less time and space. A perfect example would be the recent tweet from “Tweeter-in-Chief,” President Donald Trump, to the effect that the tears shed by Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), while lamenting the fate of immigrant families under the Trump Administration’s assault on their human dignity and American aspirations, were “fake.”

No brave man or woman is afraid to shed tears when they are appropriate to fears that are genuine.

But it is fake fears, conjured up by President Trump over the past campaign, Tea Party zealots, and Republican leadership of the past eight years, that make any decent man or woman, like Senator Schumer, shed tears for our American experiment in democracy.

For the past six years, except in the election year of 2014, Republican/Tea Party leadership in Congress has refused to provide relief for the middle class “shock absorbers of globalization,” in this country -- blue collar, hard working men and women left behind by the shift of their jobs to high tech robots, and low tech cheaper labor abroad, by the companies they had worked all their adult lives for.

A massive infrastructure bill could have seriously mitigated the transition from low tech to high tech, but Republican leadership in Congress was loath to see credit for these blue collar jobs go to the Democrats, in general, and a black President, in particular. Instead, cynics like Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI), continued to allow Donald Trump’s “birther” lies about the citizenship of President Obama to go unchallenged, and to blame Democrats for the loss of jobs in the key electoral States of Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

Organized lying really works, if you also have the willful cooperation of the head of the FBI, and the “Big Brother” regime of Russia’s Vladimir Putin on your side.

The Republican strategy was thus successful in maintaining Legislative power on November 8, 2016. But Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan also delivered the Executive Branch into the hands of man who is yet to show that he has either the courage or the intelligence, much less the grace, to bear the burdens of leadership in a free country, as did his predecessor, President Barack Obama.

The good news is that our Founding Fathers anticipated the rise to power of charlatans like President Trump, and the worship of large, exploiting, multi-national corporations, like the British Empire, from which the American people had just freed themselves by force of arms. The checks and balances which men like James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin wrote into the U.S. Constitution, still remain for a free people to use in their defense of themselves and those they love.

Freedom is a power, but only if it is used, and used wisely. For freedom is also a burden to those willing to bear it. Eligible voters willing to vote, and to fight for that right to vote when it is being denied by unscrupulous Republican Governors and Legislators on the grounds of fake fears about “voter fraud.” Democratic and Republican legislators alike, unafraid to represent their constituents, rather than the fattest corporate contributors to their election campaigns.

Freedom weighs heavily on those who are serious about it, whether in private or in public life. But “fake fear” can all too often produce “fake freedom.” As Americans take to the streets and political action to defend freedoms they had formerly taken for granted, they are beginning to relearn the lessons of generations of Americans before them.

There are always going to be malefactors of great wealth and power out there willing to take away your freedom. But only if you are too lazy, too fearful, or too gullible to fight for it yourself.  

Recently in:

FARGO – To hundreds of Fargo’s inmates, a C-Note-sized bail might as well be a million dollars. Unaffordable.On any given day the city’s law enforcement brings those who break the law to jail. It’s their job. Some offenders…

One of the most annoying things on the web is advertising that interrupts what you are doing. I’m talking about the pop-up ads, the videos that start playing as soon as your browser opens the page. You get the idea.Well, it seems…

Thursday, February 22, 7pmFront Street Taproom, 614 Main Ave, Fargo The jazz musician and independent songwriter, making music for 20 years and performing for 10. Interesting, arranges in a dynamic and unorthodox fashion. On tour,…

Editorial

Go ask ALICE

by Sabrina Hornung

I was 14 in 1999 when Columbine happened. I remember feeling the shock, horror, and overall sickness that comes with a national tragedy of that caliber.According to a February 15, 2018 article in The Washington Post by John Woodrow…

When will we learn to share wealth?Last week I wrote about how many predictions made by Aldous Huxley in his 1932 book "Brave New World" were beginning to come true in 2018.When I read the toll to travel on Interstate 66 in…

Although the temperatures were sub zero last Sunday, the crowd and competitors were certainly on fire at the Holiday Inn in Fargo for the 5th Annual Bartenders Battle.This event has become a highlight of the year for the service…

By Melissa Martin, Ph.D. Melissamartincounselor@live.com Emotional eating refers to a range of behaviors in which individuals eat for reasons other than physiological hunger; and eating is an attempt to self-soothe emotions.…

Music

​New Direction Fest 7

by Jack Stenerson

The New Direction had no shows booked in January 2012 so one of our co-founders, Charley Wang, decided to put together the First New Direction Fest out of complete necessity. He reached out to 18 local bands to play our little…

Hungarian filmmaker Ildiko Enyedi, whose 1989 debut "My Twentieth Century" won the Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, achieved another career highlight recently with an Oscar nomination for her most recent feature. "On Body…

In my tenure at the High Plains Reader, I have devoted a lot of column inches to promoting the local music scene of the Red River Valley. However, I would be doing an injustice if I didn’t also bring your attention to another…

By Nathan Roybardsdream@gmail.comYou are absolutely right. The title is not “To be or not to be” from the famous Shakespeare soliloquy in "Hamlet." I won’t be talking about Shakespeare particularly. I will expound the…

Fargo has its share of people who are passionate about stand-up comedy, even if the success of clubs devoted to it has been mixed. Despite the fact we have seen places like Courtney’s Comedy Club and Level 2 Comedy Club close…

“What are some of your favorite bottles of whiskey?” is a question I get asked quite frequently and is often harder to answer than one might think. One of the great rewards of my profession is getting to sample some of the…

Essential oils. They are all the buzz lately. It seems everyone has heard of them or is purchasing them. Some people know how to use them; others are just interested in the wonder of their complex scents.Essential oils are as…

Live and Learn

​The other shoe

by HPR Contributor

By Elizabeth Nawrotnawrot@mnstate.eduI look up from my hotel lobby breakfast astonished to see a framed print of Wassily Kandinsky's "Mit und Gegen,” a masterpiece of color and composition that just happens to be my favorite…

By Gary Olsonolsong@moravian.edu Radical: Derived from the Latin radix, which literally means the root or base. In political terms it means penetrating beyond conventional explanations and getting at the root cause of a problem.In…